How has adoption changed your life?
Adoption is the very center of my life. While I believe that circumstances do not have to dictate your reality, I really feel my adoption experience, ALL of it (my adoptive family, my biological family, the joy, pain, confusion, beauty, complexity... everything), has MADE me who I am and continues to shape who I have yet to become. It feels empowering to share my truth with the hope of helping shine a light on the realities of my adoption experience – the unconditional love of family, the search for identity, the extended connections to my family of origin, and the unique opportunities I have to use all of this to help others.
What is a lesson from your adoption experience that could be life-changing for all families?
As I reflect on my adoption experience and the collective experiences of so many families I know, I can’t help but think that our experiences (the joy, pain, confusion, beauty, complexity...everything) can help us all to examine family, thoughtful parenting and truly allow us to explore a modern view of family and family values. I believe that ALL families deserve the opportunity to be strong and that family preservation should be at the center. When we all hold family sacred and make thoughtful, child-centered decisions, our communities are stronger and our world is stronger.
What changes would you like to see made in adoption?
Today, there is needless confusion and challenge for adopted people, expectant parents, first/birth parents, adoptive parents and the professionals that serve them all. Therefore, national standards and clear uniform practices that eliminate confusion and the opportunities for fraud and unethical behaviors are imperative. These changes in adoption will help the most vulnerable families and help families that are already strong become even stronger. I would also like to see more authentic dialogue about the elements and systems that impact families like poverty, differences in race, class and culture, societal norms, education, criminal justice and healthcare.